Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Augurs - Old Ways(2013)

Take a Grind band, make them half as fast, give them a tone Matt Pike himself would be thrilled with and throw on top some of the most desperately fucked up sounding piercing howls and what you come out with is Augurs. The name is a plural noun to define individuals in ancient Rome who would interpret the symbolism in natural phenomenon as applicable information. The name absolutely fits, the guys have definitely paid attention to and interpreted for themselves the many facets of extremely fast and/or heavy music.

Old Ways is the follow up to their 2012 demo and was tracked by none other than Billy Anderson at Cloud City studios in Portland, and mixed by the legendary James Plotkin. This EP also boasts Jesika Christ of the almighty Ludicra(R.I.P) on bass, who unfortunately was unable to continue with the band shortly after this recording.

This EP is very versatile while still remaining coherent, a little less clipping distortion than one usually hears in stuff of this vein, but the big, open warm tone of the bass and guitar utilized in a style such as this really solidified Augurs as totally unique when it comes to the vast soundscape of Crust/Sludge.

Drunk begins with some raw power, the deep mid barking guitar groove makes it almost impossible for me not to move during this song, in fact I am quite distraught that I don't have something to destroy the fuck out of right now!

Charles Manson psycho babble sets the mood for the title track before exploding into a crushing mass of black sludge. Lord's vocals greet you like a swarm of misanthropic locusts that don't give any fucks about the destruction left in their wake while the drums hold a groove focusing on snare and kick cadence creating a sparse background for the labored breaths of guitar. I am the ultimate sucker for triplets where the kick drum covers the first 2 and the snare the last, as such I also don't much like it when this tactic is overused which is why I love that the drums are mostly single strokes with some doubles added here and there to taste. The song ends in a cacophany of feedback and noise leaving me quite hungry for more.

Despite the aproximate 9 minute playing time, this is still one of those albums to be "experienced". The way everything flows and the arc of how everything unfurls still creates an internal journey one might usually look toward a more lengthy release for. This comes out on 7" December 25th, I know I will be grabbing a copy and you probably can too if you stay up to date at the facebook and bandcamps profiles linked above.


Thursday, November 7, 2013

Herder - Doomed(2013)

Herder wastes no time in heavily pummeling one's head-holes with their newest onslaught of music.  From the get-go, Doomed grabbed my attention and kept me slowly rocking my head as I sat, trying not to leap from my desk and knock over my freshly filled bookshelf in a flurry of metal-induced excitement and zeal.  Some doomier metal, even prior releases from Herder, elicits a calmer response and allows the listener time to let the music wash over them as it meanders its dark, brooding path; I love this kind of music, but Doomed is for other times, times in which one's patience will brook no delay.  Doomed brings something interesting to the doomy, sludgy, and undeniably heavy metal scene - a sense of urgency. 

As the first track gets underway, I am transported back to my first listen to Mastodon's Remission.   The sound in "Stab" is both crushing and heavy, yet the song gallops along at a pace that is equal parts groovy and brooding.  The meandering guitar leads march along in a way that lends a lightened respite to an otherwise heavy dose of sludge-laden, dark metal.  Midway through the track, "Stab" breaks down into something deeper, darker, and more akin to their music of previous years.

"Slither", as well, cuts right to the chase before letting into a mid-song solo that leads a break that could only be called beautiful when compared to the hate-tinged "Stab".  "Slither" seems to be over just as soon as it begins, but not before setting the stage for what will hopefully be a complete album that marks a progression from 2012's Horror Vacui into something for those looking for a bit of speed to go with their heavy.

The vocals (Che really seems to be hitting his stride in this one) elicit a response of pure anger that washes over me in a take-no-prisoners sort of way, and I'm almost compelled to get out of my chair and act on my rage.  I am by no means an angry person, generally, yet "Stab" is the kind of song that makes me want to, for lack of a better phrase, fuck things up.  It is my hunch that, minus the tightly packed venue of metal-heads slamming their brains against the walls of their skulls, this is precisely the response Herder was looking for.  My advice to listeners of Doomed: give these songs a go in a place where you can move, and act, and let the music compel you to get off your ass and rock. 

Doomed, while perhaps being more uptempo than previous Herder efforts, is heavy in its own way and stays true to its sludgy tendencies.  My only complaint is that Herder only provided us with just over five minutes of new material, a taste that is not nearly enough to satisfy my doomy, sludge-chugging needs.  This is not music to be taken lightly, or to listen to while slogging through the mundanity of the everyday.  Rather, Doomed, at least on "Stab", seems to take the essence of what Pantera could have been had it sped up its sound and became, well, a bit more interesting. Slay on, Herder, and bestow upon us another swamp-load of heavy, southern-tinged Netherlander riffage as soon as you can.


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Before the Eyewall - S/T(2013)

An Eyewall is the most devastating part of a hurricane, a ring of intense storms surrounding the calmest portion of the storm, the Eye. A more than apt name for the sound that they project, BEFORE THE EYEWALL are a unique experience surrounding calm post-rock passages with huge, triumphantly crushing riffs all while leaving the presence of vocals absent to create the perfect storm of introspective journey taken musical form.

In March of this year they released their self-released, self-titled Full-Length which I happened to be lucky enough to grab one of the limited 500 copies at one of their California shows. The artwork is very grabbing, an eye that seems to be awakening to a multitude of forbidden knowledge glares at you from the center of a beautifully colored, ornate stained glass window design. Drummer Aaron Oakman personally handles all design for the band, and its clear how much dedication he has when one notices that different crystalline polished surfaces have been edited into the different panes of the window design to pull off a very convincing stained glass effect.

Each song proves just how wide Before the Eyewall's field of vision is, incorporating elements from all over the doom and post spectrum with the conviction of seasoned professionals to create an experience that leaves me feeling invincible, like nothing can penetrate the Eyewall I am immersed deep within, and at other times totally lost, frail and alone when the rug is swept out from under my feet and I am left falling through a haze of galactic atmosphere that seems very familiar to the inner depths of the soul. If there is one thing I can count on, it's that the surrounding warmth of riffery will return to remind me that even though everything is the same time nothing is everything and it will remain that way until the Sky Falls.

A neat conceptual theme they have added to this album is that it opens with a song titled SKYRISES and ends with a song titled SKYFALLS. Just as all of the other aesthetics involved in the projection of their art, it fits the puzzle by immaculately encapsulating the arc that this album takes.

This is one of those bands that is impossible for me to do a song by song run down, It's hard enough translating it overrall as this really is a ride I feel like everyone should take. It is my honest sentiment that this album can be appreciated by anyone who enjoys music on any level. The instrumental factor leaves the heaviness accessible and allows more of an internal audial visual experience than normally possible with bursts of vocals butting in. The closest I can come to explaining the sound in comparisons is a guitar tone/approach halfway between Opeth and Pelican, boosted at points to Yob level crushingness.

If you are into heavy atmospheric music, this album has the potential to be one of your best allies in this life, there are still some copies of the CD available on their bandcamp and trust me, this is one of those albums you really should dedicate the length of to, get your set and setting in order preferrably somewhere where this can be blasted at full and ride the vibes.

Toneparisons: Yob, Pallbearer, Intronaut, Opeth, Pelican

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